Mermaids on the Golf Course: Stories

Mermaids on the Golf Course: Stories

by Patricia Highsmith

The great revival of interest in Patricia Highsmith continues with this work that reveals the chilling reality behind the idyllic facade of American suburban life.

The stories collected in Mermaids on the Golf Course, first published in 1985, are among Highsmith's most mature, psychologically penetrating works.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Short Stories
  • Rating: 3.53
  • Pages: 240
  • Publish Date: July 17th 2003 by W. W. Norton Company
  • Isbn10: 0393324567
  • Isbn13: 9780393324563

What People Think about "Mermaids on the Golf Course: Stories"

There are eleven short stories in this collection, all of which had me in thoughts about how the characters internalised their anxieties, fears, hates, and other emotions. It also made me think of stalkers and the boundaries between fans and stalkers, and a line from Oasis' Don't Look Back In Anger (not sure why): Her soul slides away, but don't look back in anger I heard you say Take me to the place where you go Where nobody knows if it's night or day But please don't put your life in the hands Of a Rock n Roll band Who'll throw it all away Of course, another reason I liked this particular story is that Highsmith pays tribute, in her won sardonic way (and which I bet he appreciated), to Graham Greene. In real life, Highsmith and Greene never met, but they were admirers of each others work. Greene very astutely described her work in his foreword to Highsmiths short story collection Eleven when he summarised that: Miss Highsmith is the poet of apprehension rather than fear. Whereas, Greene-land as I like to call it, was dark, bleak but also filled with humanity (even if it seemed to be a failing humanity), Highsmith's realms are often, tho atmospheric, of a nature that is less tangible because it deals with thought processes and emotions that are, not harder to follow, but that are a little more fragile.

I believe theres a central casting bureau for imaginary characters somewhere in another dimension. Because, you know, the imaginary characters have desires, needs, and rights, and they can turn jobs down if they dont fancy them.

In the title story of Mermaids on the Golf Course, quoted above, an advisor to the President of the United States shielded his boss' body during an assassination attempt taking a bullet to the brain and apparently removing the self-control mechanisms that stopped him from acting out perverse impulses. Repetitive these stories are: several characters try to kill themselves (jumping into a gorge, taking pills, stepping in front of a taxi), and in addition to poor Minderquist up there and his lobotomy-by-bullet, characters are forever suffering head injuries and coming back to swimmy consciousness: He woke up to a soft roar of voices that sounded like a sea, blinked his eyes and recognized the faces bending over him...Then suddenly Andrew was on the ridged floor. And as with fainting or getting knocked on one's head, these stories are mostly about how easy it is to lose control to quickly veer from loving to despising one's partner; to kill a man impulsively; to walk towards rejection and turn away from happiness.

En algunos hay giros extraños no completamente de terror.

Patricia Highsmith was an American novelist who is known mainly for her psychological crime thrillers which have led to more than two dozen film adaptations over the years. She lived with her grandmother, mother and later step-father (her mother divorced her natural father six months before 'Patsy' was born and married Stanley Highsmith) in Fort Worth before moving with her parents to New York in 1927 but returned to live with her grandmother for a year in 1933. She also wrote one novel, non-mystery, under the name Claire Morgan, plus a work of non-fiction 'Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction' and a co-written book of children's verse, 'Miranda the Panda Is on the Veranda'.